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The Union Democrat welcomes letters for publication on any subject as long as they are tasteful and responsible, and are signed with the full name of the writer (include a phone number and address, for verification purposes only). Letters should not exceed 300 words. A maximum of one letter per writer can be published every two weeks. The newspaper reserves the right to edit for brevity, clarity, taste and style. Please, no business thank-you’s, business endorsements, or poetry. We will not publish consumer complaints against businesses or personal attacks.

Letters may be submitted by email at letters@uniondemocrat.com or by mail, 84 S. Washington St., Sonora 95370 and by FAX, 209-532-6451. Guest opinions, columns and editorial cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Union Democrat editorial board.

Letters to the editor for July 26, 2012

Government helped
in business success

To the Editor,

Phil VanSwoll, in his letter from July 24, proudly recalls having built his business solely with his own sweat equity. He says, “the government did absolutely nothing to assist me.”

Not to diminish his pride: Government made his success possible. 

Government sent him to school — where else did he learn the readin’, writin’, ‘rithmatic necessary in life? 

Government provided Mr. VanSwoll with an infrastructure — like roads, clean air and drinking water, a monetary systems that despite all its flukes still makes possible an economy that benefits all (well, not all equally, but where would we be without it?). Government provided him with a system of laws — ground rules for all to play by, including a judicial system to make sure rule breakers get punished. 

Government provided him with a security system — police, fire protection, the military. Government gave him a health care system so not every charlatan can call himself a doctor and peddle ineffective or dangerous medicines. 

None of these government activities I consider handouts. I call them investments in our society (I’m sure as a businessman VanSwoll understands the term). 

They were paid for by taxes, of course. That’s how a government finances what it does. Instead government provides systems that make our society possible.

What kind of society would we live in if only rich people could afford to stop working at old age, without Social Security? He should look back at what his tax dollars have achieved. That should give him proper pride and direction.

Klaus Kraemer 


Distasteful sign, free speech rights

To the Editor,

As to the fanatic on Phoenix Lake Road, his flag burning friends at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) will defend his right to free speech, no matter how distasteful. 

J.W. Smith


Stop this insanity, gun control needed

To the Editor,

I have two words after hearing about the recent shooting in Colorado: Gun control. 

How many more innocent people (especially children) have to be murdered because crazy, evil thugs can get guns so easily?

I’m watching the coverage of this last act of carnage and no one is talking about gun control. I’m not against someone hunting a deer or a duck and eating what they kill, but you don’t need a glock or an assault weapon to go hunting. 

We hear about shooting’s on the news every day. When are the people in charge of our country going to do something to stop this insanity?

Also, the news should stop showing a photo of the killer over and over, giving that person publicity.

Sydney Taylor


Economy isn’t fixed

To the Editor,

I feel the need to address a few things that seem to be said again and again: I do not care where Mitt Romney has his money. I also do not need to see his tax returns, any more than I need to see President Obama’s tax records. I could care less. 

This is a non issue. 

I see the issue as a simple one — this President has not fixed the economy. 

There seems to be two types of people in America today: There are those that see opportunity and do whatever it takes to achieve it, and those that spend all of their free time complaining about the fact that they do not have all they want, and demand that someone give it to them.

 The first group has my respect, they set a goal for themselves, and work hard against the odds to get it. The second group is nothing more than cry-babies. For each and every one of you that is insulted by this, or has an argument against it, you fall into the second group. 

For those that are smiling as they read it, you are in the first group, and I respect you.  

Sean Owens 


Letters to the Editor for July 24, 2012


Letters to the editor for July 19, 2012

Tuolumne County employee plea deal

To the Editor,

A story which ran in The Union Democrat July 11 was disturbing on many levels (‘County  Transpo planner pays $66K for theft’). 

My greatest outrage, however, the one I feel is deserving of a response from Tuolumne County Public Works Department, is the citizenship of Mr. Sukumar. 

In December 2009 when he was hired, unemployment in California and Tuolumne County was at record levels. 

Was the person best qualified to deal with Tuolumne County transportation planning issues a citizen of India? There were no unemployed professionals in our county, U.S. citizens, who desired a $66,000 a year job? 

I’m sure there are other taxpayers that would like a bit more insight as to how this decision was made.

The negotiations for Mr. Sukumar’s plea deal were structured to protect his immigration status. Would a Mexican immigrant receive the same consideration?

David Munson 


Campaign reform and full disclosure

To the Editor,

Our politics and government representatives are sold to the highest bidder. 

The one with the most money wins. Is that how it goes? We need to find ways that money will not influence our policies and representatives. Or stop calling this a Democracy. 

We could: A. Ban all lobbyist and special interest people from the halls of our government. If they seek a meeting with a Representative, they should do so publicly at a Charity event for example. 

B. All donations and contributions made publicly with full disclosure from whom and reasons why. Donations cannot be hidden behind a business name. Actual names of real people. 

C. Corporations should definitely not be considered a personhood. 

D. Election candidates should have the same amount of media advertising regardless of how much money they collect. 

Rebecca Simonitch


Water conservation

To the Editor, 

Tuolumne Utilities District now says that we will have to conform to mandatory water rationing.

I bet they are glad that Mountain Springs did not go through as planned otherwise we would be rationing water during the rainy season. 

They said that they could provide water for them no problem. Heck, they can’t even provide water to the customers they have now. 

T.U.D. says that their customers are doing a good job of conserving now. I say yeah, we had to cut back because of the price of water. 

Green yard or groceries — you choose.

Richard Shears 


Upset with the Mother Lode Fair

To the Editor,

It saddened me to see that the county fair had raised their prices so high that the families in Tuolumne County could not afford to go.

Many families in this county are on a low or fixed income. For a family of four to get into the fair and enjoy the rides it was an outrageous $140.

This is so unfair to our families here. This did not include food, games, souvenirs, or events. This just got you through the gates and a few rides.

Speaking of rides, the people they have running them were very rude. I asked one of them about the safety of a ride for my son with dystrophy and he ignored me. 

Also, I noticed the games where you are “supposed” to win a stuffed animal were filthy. The stuffed animals that people were carrying around that they had won were filthy and looked moldy. 

I spoke with many people at the fair that said they aren’t coming back next year and that “it’s a rip off.” 

I personally won’t attend the fair again. If people refuse to pay these outrageous prices maybe then they will take a closer look at the amount they are charging us.

Karen Burkett


Editor’s note: General admission for the 2012 Mother Lode Fair was  $8 (just $4 on Thursday). Pre-sale of “unlimited ride wristbands” were $20. Purchasing individual ride tickets or other combinations of ride tickets could produce a higher cost.

Letters to the editor for July 20, 2012

Offensive sign on Phoenix Lake Road

To the Editor,

The Phoenix Lake Road fanatic is plumbing new depths with his current effort. Sir, I have lived long enough to know the horrors committed by the “Adolf” to which you refer in your disgusting sign of late and I do not take lightly your latest insult to the President of the United States and to the brave men and women who fought against “Adolf” and his Nazis. 

It has been almost 60 years since another of your ilk was asked this question on the floor of the United States Senate, and I ask it of you now: “Have you no decency?” 

I hope for a reply in something more than roadside sloganeering. 

Mike Macon 


Letters to the Editor for July 11, 2012


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